Early Signs of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects the way a person sees the world. Dr. Barbara Cornblatt, Ph.D., Director of the Recognition and Prevention Program (RAP) — a specialty program aimed at identifying and treating adolescents and young adults with early signs of mental illness — created the following list of behaviors that could indicate whether your child is at risk or in the early stages of schizophrenia:

People at risk often show behaviors such as:

• Withdrawing from friends and family
• Preferring to be alone
• A drop in school performance
• Seeming less motivated
• Appearing depressed
• A reduced ability to concentrate
• Changes in sleep or energy level
• Increased anxiety or agitation
• Irritability
• Moodiness

Other behaviors of particular concern are:

• Mistrustfulness or suspiciousness
• Changes in personal hygiene
• Emotions that do not fit the situation
• Vague speech

• Speech sometimes doesn't make sense
• Unusual ideas or beliefs
• Unusual experiences If your loved one is experiencing any of the behavior changes listed above, seek professional help.

For more information, contact the following organizations:
American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/
American Psychiatric Association: http://www.psych.org/

Dr. Barbara Cornblatt, Ph.D. is a professor of psychiatry at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and the wife of Dr. Phil Advisory Board member, Dr. Lonnie Sherrod, Ph.D.

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